Today the New York Rangers announced that the team will buy out the contract of 33-year-old defenseman and alternate captain Dan Girardi.
Girardi played 788 regular season games and 122 postseason games with the Rangers - both of which are incredible feats for a player who was undrafted.
Girardi joined the Rangers main roster as a rookie during the 2006-07 season after 111 games in the AHL and seven games in the ECHL after leaving the London Knights of the OHL.
The Rangers will save a substantial amount of cap space by buying out the veteran defenseman’s contract, but the buyout cap hit will stay with the team through the 2022-23 season. It is a small price to pay for parting ways with Girardi’s $5.5 million cap hit that would have been on the books for the next three seasons.
A breakdown of how that works out can be seen below.
This decision also allows the Rangers to protect another defenseman in the upcoming expansion draft. With the news of Kevin Klein’s potential retirement, it looks like the Rangers blue line will be undergoing a massive overhaul this offseason.
Girardi was a polarizing player for Rangers fans, but there was no one who was more willing to put his body on the line to help his team win. He was fearless and played through countless injuries that would have sidelined players with less fire and willpower. Best of luck to him and his family in the next chapter of his hockey career.
EDIT: 1:24 PM, 6/14/2017
Dan Girardi released a statement regarding his contract being bought out by the Rangers. You can read that statement by clicking the tweet below.
“I have spent one-third of my life as a New Yorker and as a New York Ranger. New York will always be our second home. I started my life here, got married to my wife Pam, and had our two children, Landon and Shaye.”
This might not be the only major change made to the team’s core group this offseason. The Derek Stepan trade rumors are now in full gear.
NYR centre Derek Stepan's name is fairly prominent in trade chatter. Stepan's contract has four more years with AAV of $6M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 14, 2017
Note: in the quoted above, McKenzie was mistaken. Stepan’s cap hit is $6.5 million, not $6 million.
Worth noting, Stepan has full NTC (for next two seasons) that kicks in on July 1. No NTC until then. Final 2 yrs of deal is modified NTC.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 14, 2017
Stepan’s no trade clause kicks in on July 1st, which means that if the Rangers plan to move the center it has to happen now.